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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
The start of the 2019 National YC Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, with eventual overall winner Rockabill VI (JPK 10.80, Paul O’Higgins RIYC) just ahead of Mick Cotter’s 94ft Windfall, which took line honours and established a new course record. The 30th Anniversary D2D starts in Dublin Bay on June 7th 2023
Did we really manage it? Did we really cram all those major special and routine regular sailing events into the one season of 2022? And all that despite its three main months afloat experiencing decidedly mixed weather? And also despite…
Inshore heading offshore – ISORA 2022 Champion Mojito (Vicky Cox & Peter Dunlop, PSC) powering into clear air at the start of a Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race, with Round Ireland winner Cavatina (Ian Hickey, RCYC) close abeam
Is most “ocean racing” today really oceanic? Does “offshore racing” really involve going truly offshore? Are boats touted as being “cruiser-racers” ever really used for genuine cruising? And are sailing enthusiasts who like to think of themselves as being devoted…
Stars of the Show – the 1994-founded International Cork 1720 Sportsboats found a new lease of life in 2022, and mustered 42 boats for their European Championship within Volvo Cork Week in July
Sailing sport has previously been halted within personal memory, both by world wars and more locally-based hostilities. And we don’t have to go very far beyond living individual recollection to gauge how the lingering effects of Spanish Flu in 1919…
That was then……Julius Price’s classic late Victorian portrayal of a female helm adorned the walls of the snooker room in many traditional yacht clubs. Courtesy RUYC
Anyone with a basic knowledge of the development of sailing in Ireland – particularly from 1890 onwards – will be aware that women sailors played an active role afloat in this country’s sailing boat sport for a long time. For…
The view eastward over modern Ringsend. At first glance it seems totally tamed, with the formerly anarchic waterfront along the banks of the River Dodder (running left to right across photo foreground) now neatly tidied, while the south bank of the Liffey is kept in order by the dual carriageway accessing the Eastlink Bridge. But a “magic maritime space” has been preserved to provide room for Poolbeg Y&BC with its marina and mooring area, while there’s waterfront access and pontoons for the thriving Stella Maris and St Patrick’s Rowing Club
When the multi-talented John B Kearney (1879-1967) retired from a distinguished career in Dublin Port in 1944, he re-focused most of his attention on his parallel interest as a yacht designer and builder. It was an enduring passion that went…
“If you like your work, then work is the best fun that you can have”. 25 years on, and going stronger than ever at MGM Boats’ Silver Jubilee Celebration in Dun Laoghaire are (left to right), Ross O’Leary, John O’Kane (Belfast Lough Office), Gerry Salmon and Martin Salmon 
For most sailors in what is Ireland’s largest and busiest pier-enclosed recreational harbour, MGM Boats of Dun Laoghaire are, first and foremost, the people who provide the essential service of one of Ireland’s largest and most versatile travel hoists. For…
The last hurrah. Ted Crosbie’s X302 No Excuse on her way to victory by one point in the Royal Cork YC IRC Winter League 2017. Just as Ted had encouraged his own father Tom to keep sailing until well into advanced old age, so Ted’s son Tom encouraged his father to keep racing until he was eighty-seven
Ted Crosbie combined so many of the strongest threads of Cork life that he embodied an entire Munster universe of personal positivity. Family was everything to him, but so too was the unique and bustling maritime city of Cork and…
A thoughtful and friendly introduction to sailing. Instead of the rough and tumble of Optimist racing, the RS Feva can provide a sociable and encouraging route into fun afloat
The Olympic authorities see the Laser as the floating equivalent of the pole-vaulter’s vaulting pole, thereby making Laser sailors into proper individual athletes, and very worthy of Olympic inclusion.But meanwhile, some in the upper echelons of Olympic decision-making see two-person…
Fireballs in preliminary Worlds racing at Dromineer on Lough Derg, where the indispensable Andy Thompson of Larne won yet another Gold
September is a month of harvests afloat as it is ashore, and as we reach October with its inescapable sense of the change in the seasons, our bountiful new monthly list of no less than six different and distinctive September…
Home-from-home. Hoteliers John & Gwen Brennan took their Redbay Stormforce 1450 Dromquinna to Brittany, expecting to book into a hotel now and again, yet they spent every night on board in complete comfort. Thanks to John’s skills in manoeuvring, here at Saint-Marine in Benodet they have managed to get berthed beside the smaller craft with a minimal walk to the marina bridge
The Kenmare River where Kerry verges into Cork is one of Ireland’s cruising gems – it’s pure gold and then some. But we weren’t exactly cruising when the Nixon Tribe descended on the area precisely a year ago for a…
GP14s racing at Sutton DC, the class and venue for the new-look Champions’ Cup on October 8th & 9th
The Helmsman’s Championship? Crazy name. Surely it should at least have been The Helmsmen’s Championship? Yet in its quirkiness, it achieved brand recognition to die for. Everyone knew what it meant, so much so it could even be shortened to…
Some Irish coastal towns almost ignore it. Others simply face it. But Kinsale embraces the sea
Where other Irish harbours face the sea, Kinsale embraces it. And this generous geographical reality helps to provide a genuine sense of community interaction when any initiative at the hospitable south Cork port is put together to help get young…
Putting the “sport” into Sportsboat…..SB20s revelling in a real breeze as other boats scuttle back to port
In 2002, the ingenious Laser SB3 was unleashed on an unsuspecting world by Performance Sailcraft as one of several innovative craft that enabled the leading Laser builders to offer loyal Laser sailors – already in their several thousands with the…
A global phenomenon? The icon of an international nautical cult? The J/24 is all that and more
The International J/24 European Championship getting under way this weekend in Howth leads inevitably to thoughts of a special drama afloat two months ago. The crunch finish period of the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race 2022 at Wicklow on Friday,…
When Irish sailing conditions are good, they’re very good indeed. Aboard the successful J/99 Snapshot during the Fastnet Race in the recent Calves Week at Schull, with Des Flood on the trim, Richie Evans on the helm, and Mike Evans keeping things in order
So where are they? The hurricanes, we mean. Or more accurately, the “decaying tropical storms” which occasionally make their ominous and often unpredictable way towards Ireland as the Summer progresses and morphs into Autumn. For as it happens, back in…
A heart-stirring sight – Grace O’Malley under full sail
In recent days, we’ve seen celebrations honouring the super-star young sailors who have brought major international sailing medals of gold, silver and bronze home to Ireland and their rightfully-delighted families and cheering local clubs. These are sailors whose special talent…

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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